Tubal Reversal Surgery vs. IVF (In Vitro Fertilization)

A woman with a tubal ligation may later elect to undergo tubal reversal surgery to become pregnant. In vitro fertilization, sometimes called ?in vitro? or IVF, may also provide women with a tubal ligation the ability to become pregnant. Choosing between the two, however, requires thorough investigation and conversations with your physician.

Tubal Reversal Surgery Explained

In a tubal reversal procedure, a four to six inch incision is made in the woman's abdomen for access to the severed tube. Because the surgeon must cut through muscles and tissue prior to reconnecting the tube, the surgery is quite severe and often requires a total of two to three weeks for recovery.

Recently, doctors have begun using a laparoscope for tubal ligation reversals. In this type of procedure, the surgeon enters through the patient's belly button and uses a scope to reconnect the tubes.

IVF Explained

In vitro fertilization is a procedure where a woman's eggs are removed from her ovaries, fertilized with sperm and replanted in her uterus in hopes that a pregnancy will result. Typically, the woman's reproductive organs are stimulated through medications prior to the procedure to improve the chance of conception.

Because this procedure does not require an egg to travel down a woman's fallopian tube, it is a valid option for woman who wishes to conceive but has previously undergone a tubal ligation.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of a Tubal Reversal

Tubal reversal surgery is a painful and difficult surgery. Additionally, there is no guarantee that the procedure will be successful or that ovulation will begin to occur regularly. Scar tissue may prevent the tubes from completely being repaired and it is still possible for other infertility issues to prevent pregnancy.?

Furthermore, it is more likely for women who have had this surgery to experience tubal pregnancies. In this situation, the fertilized egg fails to descend into the uterus and the fetus grows inside the fallopian tube. This is an extremely dangerous condition that could lead to the death of the mother and fetus.

However, tubal reversal surgery is permanent and subsequently a woman can become pregnant as many times as she would like. While more intense than IVF, it is unlikely that tubal reversal surgery will need to be repeated. This is especially important for a woman who thinks she might like to have multiple children.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of IVF

IVF is becoming a very commonly used procedure to overcome infertility. Because of this, it has become safer and less expensive than it has been in the past. Because a woman with a tubal ligation has not actually destroyed her eggs, by taking ovulation-inducing drugs and undergoing the two separate procedures, she may easily become pregnant.

This does not mean that the procedure is guaranteed to work, however. IVF is not certain to lead to pregnancy for many reasons, and it is possible that the entire process would need to be repeated. Also, should multiple pregnancies be desired, the procedure would need to be repeated for each one as the woman's tubes would still be disconnected.?

Tubal reversal surgeries and IVF both provide the chance for a woman to overcome her previous tubal ligation and become pregnant. Neither procedure, however, is foolproof or without its drawbacks. Do your research and talk to your doctor prior to choosing either one.